DANIELLE L. JENSEN
SERIES: The Malediction Trilogy, #1
GENRES/ SUBJECTS: YA Fantasy
TRIGGER WARNINGS: abuse, oppression, kidnapping
For five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the mountain. When Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain, she realises that the trolls are relying on her to break the curse.
Cécile has only one thing on her mind: escape. But the trolls are clever, fast, and inhumanly strong. She will have to bide her time…
But the more time she spends with the trolls, the more she understands their plight. There is a rebellion brewing. And she just might be the one the trolls were looking for…
I got off to a slow start with Stolen Songbird.
I picked it up without knowing really anything about it because… well… look at the cover: it’s stunning! I read the first chapter as part of the Try A Chapter prompt in the 7 in 7 Readathon. You can see my thoughts here. But basically, I wasn’t wild about it. There a couple of things in the first chapter that just didn’t click for me and I chose to read Pantomime by Laura Lam instead.
However, I went back and continued with Stolen Songbird, and I’m so glad I did because I really loved it.
The world-building is really great throughout the story. I could see so clearly so many aspects of Trollus, the trolls underground world. From the goldmines and the tunnels where the disgusting Sluag hunt, to the towering magical tree which holds up the roof of the city, to the bustling marketplace or the glass gardens. It was all beautiful and immersive, with lush descriptions. If the trolls weren’t rule by such incredibly terrible people, it’s somewhere I’d like to visit. Speaking off, another element I liked about the world-building was how believable the society was, Jensen are clearly put a lot of thought into different social stratification for the trolls, and how any humans or human-troll hybrids would fit into this.
The only thing that I was a little bit disappointed in was that the trolls weren’t unique or alien enough. A couple of them were more interesting — the Duchess and the Queen, Marc — but most were just cruel and strong. I wanted them to be more ‘other’. The love interest especially, his only notable ‘troll’ difference was basically being inhumanely, too-beautiful-to-be-real, which I just feel a little bit too easy. Also, the trolls are basically coded (and hinted in the text) as essentially being long-lost fae. While having them be trolls was a nice change, I would have loved if they had been even more separate from the Faerie Courts we see so often in fantasy novels.
I really enjoyed Stolen Songbird, and I’m looking forward to continuing the trilogy. This instalment ends in quite an interesting place, and I’m looking forward to seeing where Cécile goes next, whether the adventures continue above-ground, or whether she and Tristan find each other again in Trollus.